and fruit-trees, and all neatly kept. They are permitted at certain hours to talk to strangers, but never to one another, or to go out of their convent. But what we chiefly went to see was the small cloister, with the history of St. Bruno, their founder, painted hy Le Scaur4. It consists of twenty-two pictures, the figures a good deal less than life. But sure they are amazing! I don't know what Raphael may be in Rome, but these pictures excel all I have seen in Paris and England. The figure of the dead man who spoke at his burial, contains all the strongest and horridest ideas, of ghastliness, hypocrisy discovered, and the height of damnation, pain and cursing. A Benedictine monk, who was there at the same time, said to me of this picture : C'est une fable, mais on la croyoit autrefois. Another, who showed me relics in one of their churches, expressed as much ridicule for them. The pictures I have been speaking of are ill preserved, and some of the finest heads defaced, which was done at first by a rival of Le Soeur's. Adieu! dear West, take care of your health; and some time or other we will talk over all these things with more pleasure than I have had in seeing them.
17. To EIGHAED WEST.
DEAE WEST, Rheims, June 18, 1739. N.S.
How I am to fill up this letter is not easy to divine. I have consented that Gray shall give you an account of our situation and proceedings; and have left myself at the mercy of my own invention—a most terrible resource, and which I shall avoid applying to if I can possibly help it. I had prepared the ingredients for a description of a ball,
* Eustache Lesueur (1617-1655). These pictures were purchased from the monks in 1776, and transferred
to Versailles, and thence to the Louvre. (See Jameson, Hist, of the Monastic Orders, p. 128.)